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The Lifelong Learner’s Toolkit: 15 Strategies to Enhance Your Knowledge and Skills

The Lifelong Learner’s Toolkit: 15 Strategies to Enhance Your Knowledge and Skills

In today’s rapidly changing world, the most successful business leaders are those who commit to ongoing learning and development. They understand that lifelong learning is crucial to achieving success and fulfillment in one’s career and personal life. 

Despite its clear benefits, many businesspeople still fail to prioritize the continuance of education. According to a Gallup survey, only 11% of workers reported reading a single business book in the previous six months. The Association for Talent Development noted that the average employee spends approximately 34 hours per year on training and development activities. On the other hand, a Harvard Business Review study showed that high-performing leaders spend an average of six hours per week on learning and development activities. That is more than 300 hours a year. 

Here are 15 ways to increase personal and professional development. 
  1. Read books, articles and blogs related to the industry or area of interest. With an average reading speed of 200 words per minute, reading for just 15 minutes per day can add up to 50 hours of reading over the course of a year, equaling approximately 10 to 12 non-fiction books of average length. 
  2. Attend conferences and events. These gatherings provide an excellent opportunity to learn about new trends and technologies. One can also pick up on best practices and network with other professionals in the field. 
  3. Joining professional organizations and associations offers a wealth of resources, including newsletters, webinars and online discussion groups, as well as opportunities to connect with other professionals and learn from experts in the field. 
  4. Online courses and workshops are convenient and cost-effective ways to acquire new skills and knowledge. 
  5. Seeking out a mentor or coach can be a beneficial way to gain valuable insights and feedback or help a leader set and achieve goals. 
  6. With a wide range of free and paid options, online learning programs and webinars are a great way to stay current with the latest education in one’s field. 
  7. Video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo and podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify offer rich educational and informative content on various topics. 
  8. Attending networking events provides an opportunity to connect with other professionals, learn about new ideas and opportunities, and develop new relationships. 
  9. Joining a mastermind group or peer learning community can provide a supportive environment for sharing ideas, setting goals, and holding each other accountable. 
  10. Follow industry experts and thought leaders on social media. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are excellent sources of information and inspiration. 
  11. Industry-specific online forums and discussion groups allow participants to ask questions, share ideas and learn from others in their field. 
  12. Subscribing to business publications and newsletters provides the latest information and developments to stay up to date on industry changes and advancements. 
  13. Attending local business events and meetups provides an opportunity to connect with other professionals in one’s community and learn about local trends and developments. 
  14. Seeking feedback is essential for learning and growth. Leaders who ask for input from others are more likely to identify areas for improvement and achieve greater success. 
  15. Conducting regular self-assessments is an invaluable tool for personal development. Those who make a habit of regular evaluation of performance, and identifying areas for improvement, are more likely to achieve their goals. 

Despite the many benefits of lifelong learning, many still do not prioritize their personal development. Some common excuses include a lack of time, resources, motivation and accountability, as well as complacency and overconfidence. However, it is crucial to recognize that these excuses will ultimately hold the individual back from reaching their full potential. 

To overcome these barriers business leaders can take several steps, such as setting goals, creating a schedule for personal development activities, seeking external accountability and focusing on the benefits of personal development. Ultimately, the key to success in both personal and professional life is a commitment to ongoing learning and growth. Remember –– the most important investment a person will ever make is the one made in themself.  

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By John Spence

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